Archive for February, 2014


Dog Mendonça and Pizza Boy Volume II

Review by C.J. Bunce

Forget about all those post-apocalyptic stories, only Dog Mendonça and Pizza Boy could tap the Book of Revelations for a zombie story out of the actual Apocalypse.  Juggling the best parts of John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness, Raiders of the Lost Ark and the humor of Ghostbusters, with high drama, satire, and whimsical blasphemy, Portugal’s creative team of Felipe Melo, Juan Cavia, and Santiago Villa bring the world-saving duo back to the pages of Dark Horse Comics in The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonça and Pizza Boy II: Apocalypse.

We reviewed the first volume in the series, The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonça and Pizza Boy, here at borg.com back in November 2012.  In the first book the reader becomes a character walking along with the duo as writer Felipe Melo breaks the “third and fourth walls” in a funny and beautifully drawn story.

This time Dog and Pizza Boy are back in Portugal and all hell is breaking loose.  Locusts, horned beasts, the four horsemen, the sign of the last days, it’s all intertwined with the hilarity of these strange friends, a little girl demon (who was kicked out of Hell) named Pazuul, and a stone gargoyle named Edgar Augustus.  Piled high with pop culture references and in-jokes, Melo’s story is as smart as any book on the newsstands, irreverent and wildly funny.

Juan Cavia’s artistry is as good as it gets.  What’s going on away from the action is often the best part of the scene.  On one page, the top panel shows fire and brimstone raining down on the group as they dodge explosions in their Volkswagen Beetle.  On panel two we see a close-up of Dog and Pizzaboy with looks of horror yet Pazuul has an expression of a gleeful little girl as if on an amusement park ride.  I don’t know why it’s so funny, but it is.

Look for a foreword in this edition by zombie master George A. Romero and a “making of” section as well as “The Untold Tales of Dog Mendonça and Pizza Boy.”

The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonca and PizzaBoy Volume 2: Apocalypse is available in comic book stores February 26, 2014, or pre-order a copy here at Amazon.com.

Dog and Pizzaboy III

And if you like the first two volumes in the series, you’ll want to catch the final volume, The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonça and Pizza Boy III: Requiem in stores in November 2014.

RoboCop and OldmanReview by C.J. Bunce

If you’re a fan of the 1987 Paul Verhoeven science fiction classic RoboCop starring Peter Weller, you might have decided to avoid the reboot showing in theaters this month.  But if you skip the new RoboCop, you’ll be missing out on a great sci-fi vision realized with a stellar cast and cutting edge special effects.  Where recent remakes of classic sci-fi movies didn’t equal the original, as with Tron: Legacy, or completely missed the mark, as with Total Recall or Man of Steel, RoboCop manages to meet or exceed the original in almost every way.

Fundamentally, the original RoboCop is lauded for its social commentary on media, capitalism, and authoritarianism.  The new film hits all of these areas head-on in light of the changing realities of the 21st century.  This begins with a failed, televised peacekeeping mission in Tehran with the giant EV-109 robots (similar to the two-legged walkers in the original film)–predecessors to both the robot/android cops, and later to the man-in-the-machine RoboCop, played by relative newcomer Joel Kinnaman.  Timely elements help bring the storyline into the 21st century, like Detroit’s closed circuit surveillance grid, which makes the RoboCop effective, and parallels the current real-world controversy surrounding drones for spying.

Robocop tehran

The supporting characters are pulled from the headlines, too.  Michael Keaton’s leader of Omnicorp is the typical entrepreneurial Wall Street “big corporation” CEO you’d expect, and Samuel L. Jackson’s talking head Pat Novak might as well have been an impersonation of Fox’s Bill O’Reilly (with some Stephen Colbert dramatics thrown in).

Where Peter Weller’s RoboCop was all machine with little soul, Joel Kinnaman’s version gets to flesh-out (literally) the physical and emotional journey from man to cyborg, in a way touched on in Jake Gyllenhaal’s equally riveting Source Code, but not otherwise fully explored on film before now.  If rumors become reality of Leonardo DiCaprio playing a big-screen version of Bionic Man’s Steve Austin, it will be difficult for audiences to avoid comparisons with this RoboCop, as the stories of both Alex Murphy and Steve Austin have many mirrored origin story scenes that unfold over the course of the film.  This includes a nice performance by Gary Oldman in a superb take on The Six Million Dollar Man’s Dr. Rudy Wells.

Joel Kinnaman;Gary Oldman

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borg-label hall-of-fame-label

After climbing over our 1,000th daily post at borg.com this week, it’s time to update the borg.com Hall of Fame, with borg in genre fiction from past, present, and future, and from all media.  Click here for our “About” page if you need a refresher on what makes a borg a borg.

Some of these more than two dozen borg inductees were overlooked in our initial list.  A few may or may not be borg, depending on your point of view.  Robots or androids that look perfectly human, for example, that have organic looking material but may not have actual living tissue are not technically cyborgs.  But if Cylons are borg, we think most of the characters below should be considered borg, too.

So here is Round 2, the 2014 borg.com Hall of Fame honorees, in no particular order:

harrycobra photo on flickriver of Mike Power

Mike Power, the Atomic Man from the 1970s.  We hope he shows up again in this year’s The Six Million Dollar Man, Season 6, from Dynamite Comics.

Borg HOF TMNT Slayer becomes Rat King in 2003 animated series

In the 2003 animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it was revealed the Rat King was once the Slayer, a bio-mechanical super soldier prototype.

Borg HOF Vandroid

From Dark Horse Comics’ 2014 comic book series, we have Vandroid.  Chuck Carducci is a mechanic.  Chuck is also an android created by Chuck, but does he have any humanity?  This one is just out so we’ll know for sure soon whether Vandroid is a borg or not.

Borg HOF Manborg

From the low-budget sci-fi B-movie, we reviewed Manborg here at borg.com back in 2013.

Skektek

From the classic fantasy movie The Dark Crystal, it’s SkekTek the Skeksis scientist who had multiple bionic parts.

Borg HOF Almost Human Kennex and Dorian

From 2013’s new TV series Almost Human, Karl Urban’s detective John Kennex (who has a cybernetic leg) is a borg, but is his partner, Michael Ealy’s out-dated android Dorian?  The newer model police officers appear to be androids only, but is there any organic part, any living tissue, in Dorian?

Borg HOF Almost Human cyborg prostitute

Almost Human features a society full of androids (including the prostitute, above)–some with illegally-trafficked actual human skin–real skin, which, of course, makes them borg.  We don’t know if Dorian has any organic material yet.

Borg HOF cybernetic Gunslinger from A Town Called Mercy Doctor Who

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Jayne Cobb and Vera action figure Firefly Funko ReAction Retro Buffy the Vampire Slayer ReAction figure Funko

Funko’s classic Kenner style 3 and 3/4-inch ReAction series of action figures are sure to be a big focus at Sunday’s annual Toy Fair in New York, and we have a first look at the sculpts and packaging courtesy of Entertainment Earth.  We revealed the new Predator, Terminator, Escape from New York, Rocketeer, and The Nightmare Before Christmas figures here at borg.com last week, and we couldn’t be more excited about the rest of the line of 1980s style action figures.

The rest of the figures include Back to the Future, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Pulp Fiction, the Universal Monsters, Horror Classics, Goonies, and The Crow.

Some highlights can be found in the Firefly line.  Zoe’s sculpt looks particularly well done, Wash comes with his toy dinosaurs, and Jayne comes with his favorite weapon: Vera.  Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer comes with his guitar.  Hellraiser’s Pinhead comes with a tiny puzzle cube.  And Bruce Willis finally gets an action figure–his Pulp Fiction character is wearing his dad’s watch from the film.  Several characters are represented in the Pulp Fiction line, but no Christopher Walken, yet.  There’s no Xander from Buffy, either, or Josh Brolin’s character from Goonies, or a River or Simon for the Firefly line.

ReAction Funko The Crow Eric Draven figure  Pulp Fiction ReAction figures Funko

Each of these can be pre-ordered from Entertainment Earth at the early bird prices by clicking on the images below.  We’re betting this first line will be a big success and that Funko will move on to expand these lines and add more licensed properties in the future.  Check out these great series:

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Valentines Day Weekend Star Wars sale

Dark Horse Comics is offering a valentine to anyone who wants to catch up on one or more of 38 Star Wars digital comics available on their website.  Their promotion states that you can save up to 50% off cover price but we’re seeing $2.99 books going for as low as $0.99 and even a $0.49 for Brian Wood’s Star Wars, Issue #1.

We recommend the great Star Wars: Infinities books, a “what if?” alternate version of each of the three original trilogy stories.  You’ll also find the classic Dark Empire series, and romantics can check out Star Wars: Union, where Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade tie the knot, and the Valentine’s Day version of the Star Wars Christmas Special in Judd Winick’s one-shot Breaking the Ice issue.  Disney has announced they are throwing aside much of the expanded universe built over the past 35 years, but we think they are nuts if they don’t include Mara Jade.  Find out more about her in Dark Horse Comics.

Star Wars Valentine issue

Click here to check out the available books.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

CITY_01 panel

Out this week is Darby Pop Publishing and IDW’s new series City: The Mind in the Machine.  A new surveillance system can prevent all crime in San Francisco.  But it doesn’t work without a human mind to control it.  A victim of a terrorist attack, Ben is turned into that mind.  Tied into the surveillance system with bio-neural implants he becomes a one man army against crime, whether he likes it or not.  So what do you do when you can control an entire city with your thoughts?

A bit RoboCop, a bit Bionic Man, City: The Mind in the Machine looks at security and technology in a very cinematic way.

A four-issue limited series, City is written by Eric Garcia, who wrote Matchstick Men and the screenplay for Repo Men.  Pencils and inks are by Javier Fernandez with colors by Mark Englert and Felix Serrano.  The cover is by Tommy Lee Edwards.

CITY-01 cover

In its first issue, City has a great futuristic look, with nice special effects, quick action scenes, and interesting characters.

After the break, check out this preview of City: The Mind in the Machine, courtesy of IDW Publishing.

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Winter Soldier Falcon

If you’re like us and you happened to see the new TV spot during the Olympics interspersing Olympians with the superheroes in the April release Captain America: The Winter Soldier, you might have thought the commercial a bit cringeworthy.

Sometimes studios try too hard.  In this case the result just doesn’t work.

But this looks to be one of the better Marvel Studios entries in the Avengers franchise.  So instead check out this full-length trailer, released last week, laying out general story elements and characters:

Not much longer to wait, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is in theaters April 4, 2014.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Dynamite sale banner

Dynamite Entertainment is celebrating its 10th anniversary in July, and to begin its year of celebration it is offering a huge sale at ComiXology.com.  Dynamite is offering all of its titles at 50% off (that’s over 1,500 titles).

Go to the link below to find all of Dynamite’s comics at an incredible discount!  To get this discount, the code word is DYNAMITE.

http://www.comixology.com/Dynamite-Sale/page/774

So if you haven’t checked them out already, look for Miss Fury, The Bionic Man, Masks, Grimm, The Twilight Zone, Battlestar Galactica, The Black Bat, and tons of other titles.

The sale lasts until February 13, 2014, so act fast!  This offer can only be redeemed at ComiXology.com and no titles are included that are first released after February 11, 2014.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Stalingrad US poster

Someone’s marketing was a bit off.  Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk’s Stalingrad, a visual effects-packed World War II film that set records in late 2013 in Russia, would have been better timed for a U.S. release during the Olympic Games.  What better time to check out what Russia’s biggest box office winner is–what our friends in Russia are excited about outside of the big Olympic show?  Instead it will premier in the States a little later, on February 28, 2014.

Stalingrad was Russia’s submission for Best Foreign film for the 86th Academy Awards, but was not selected.  Critical acclaim has singled the war movie for its quality visual effects, and they do really come through in the newly released trailer. Stalingrad also is notable as being the first Russian film produced with IMAX 3D technology, and the first non-American film using the IMAX format.  The film’s website includes a pretty rousing soundtrack and some other features (in Russian).

Check out this preview for Stalingrad:

Definitely some great panoramic battle recreations as well as nice shots of fighter planes, bombers, and tanks.

Stalingrad is targeted for a U.S. release February 28, 2014 (February 21 in the U.K.).

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

dallas-tnt-dvd-season-two-cover

It will go down in American culture as the last hoorah for television legend Larry Hagman.  The second season of the reboot of Dallas saw the villainous and conniving J.R. Ewing’s death coinciding with the real-life passing of Hagman.  And it set up an ongoing new search–not for who shot J.R.–but who killed J.R., as the series begins its third season on TNT on February 24, 2014.  Averaging 4 million viewers per episode last year, it’s clear viewers still want to know what’s going on at Southfork, even 36 years since we first met the Ewings.  And the new series is one of the best retro treatments any TV series has seen–how many classic shows have gotten a second chance?

What is actually the sixteenth season of Dallas is in stores everywhere tomorrow, and reboot Season 2 features not only the 15 episodes from 2013, but several deleted scenes and other bonus features, including an extended cut of the series farewell to J.R. and Hagman in “J.R.’s Masterpiece.”  Fans of Hagman in particular will appreciate two features, “Memories of Larry Hagman: A Cast and Crew Tribute,” including some good light-hearted discussions with Josh Henderson, who plays J.R.’s son, and a season one press interview with Hagman discussing the series, “One Last Conversation with Larry Hagman.”  The feature “The Battle for Ewing Energies” is an overview of the season and the fast-moving plot twists.  “Dallas at Paleyfest 2013,” unlike many Paley Center presentation features, is a well-filmed, quality panel from late season that includes the seven key cast members and the show’s writers.  Costume designer Rachel Sage Kunin discusses wardrobe and jewelry selection decisions with actress Jordana Brewster in a series of featurettes on each disc.

jr_ewing_dallas_tnt_season_two

We reviewed last season at borg.com here, and recounted J.R. Ewing and the show’s significance in the realm of classic TV watching.  Not just a stale prime time soap opera, the writers of Dallas have managed to keep the store zipping along, often creating and resolving key crises in a single episode, to move right on to the next challenge for the Ewing family.

Pick up the four-disc DVD of Dallas Season Two tomorrow, February 11, 2014 at stores everywhere, and pre-order it today at a discount at Amazon.com.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

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